Rise Stevens: Mezzo-soprano with the Met for two decades
Tuesday 26 March 2013
Rise Stevens, who died on 20 March at the age of 99, was a mezzo-soprano who sang with the Metropolitan Opera for more than 20 years during the 1940s and 1950s. She began singing with the Met in 1938; among her greatest roles was the title character in Carmen, which she sang for 124 performances.
She turned down an early chance to sing at the Met, feeling she needed more study in Europe. She also turned her back on Hollywood in the 1940s after roles in two hit films because she wanted to devote herself to opera. In 1961, she retired from performing, saying she wanted to bow out while she still had a great voice. "It always bothered me, these great singers when I heard them again and again, remembering how magnificent they sounded once and no more," she said.
She remained active as an administrator of a touring opera company and as an educator, helping to foster the growth of opera across the US.
Her earthy portrayal of Carmen brought her particular acclaim in the early 1950s, spotlighting her acting as well as her singing. She recalled: "I had to learn to move my body and feel like this Spanish woman."
She helped make history in 1952 when Carmen was seen coast to coast, telecast from the Met. It was believed to be the largest audience ever to see a single opera performance.
Among her other celebrated roles were Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier", Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Cherubino and Dalila in Samson et Dalila. Her brief Hollywood career began in 1941 opposite Nelson Eddy in The Chocolate Soldier –"He really could have had an operatic career, but he just made too much money, too soft and too easy," she recalled. That film's success led to a role in the 1944 Bing Crosby hit Going My Way. "I probably would never have reached that vast public had I not done films," she said. "At least, I won a lot of people over to opera."
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...